Nice Try.

So, about that marathon.

Let me say, first of all, that I loved almost everything about this race.  The race was well-organized, the course thoughtfully designed, and the atmosphere exciting. 

It really was a great day.  It was awesome to make a new friend in my running buddy for the first ten miles, the lovely girlfriend of one of my very best friends in the world. We’ve been corresponding via email about this event for the past six months, and just got around to meeting on Friday.

I was so glad to see my family, and thankful for the support they provided on the course.

waving at 14

mile 14 - mike

From a racing perspective, though, things didn’t exactly go as planned.
The first half was perfect. Then the morning clouds burned off (see those shadows above?) and the heat completely wiped me out.  It wasn’t that hot in absolute terms – probably high 70’s – but was much warmer than I have ever experienced on a long run.  I kicked into self-preservation mode and slowed it WAY DOWN.  While it was depressing to be constantly passed from miles 15-20, it paid off in the late miles as I was able to maintain a steady (albeit slow) pace to the finish line. 

The best thing about a marathon going sour at mile 15 was that I had eleven miles to come to terms with what had transpired.  With 10 miles to go, I was certain this would be my last attempt at 26.2 miles.  But by the time I entered Memorial Stadium and crossed the finish at the 50-yard line, I was at peace.

IL marathon results

Based on my finish time, it looks like I am SO FAR AWAY from 3:40.  But based on my training, I know I am in much better shape than 4:01.  If it were logistically or seasonally feasible, I would go for it again as soon as possible.  But I think I have a new rule:

No Marathons between May and August!

4:01, while not achieving any of the goals I laid out at the beginning of this little journey, is still a PR.  So I can’t complain much.  I have every confidence that I could run much faster in more favorable conditions, and I plan to go for it again this fall. 

Could I have finished faster had I anticipated the conditions and started more conservatively? Probably.  But I had to at least give myself that chance for the BQ.  I’d be disappointed in myself had I run this race any other way.

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About stillarunner

I used to run. Some days, I even ran fast. Then I got a job. And met a boy. And bought a house. And rescued a dog. And rescued another dog. And went back to school. And created human life. I might not run every day, or even every week. There’s a good possibility that I will never be fast again. But I’m still a runner.
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4 Responses to Nice Try.

  1. the dawn says:

    So, I’ve been lurking your site. Partially because I love to read about training for marathons and partially because I grew up in Kansas City. I hope that you don’t give up on the 26.2 miles! The heat can be brutal, I totally agree about avoiding the races in summer months, but you really are super close to your goal! It may feel like a lot but so much of that time is due to things outside your control. Looking forward to keep hearing about your running/training/racing!

  2. Jen says:

    Sarah–I still think you did great. Running in the heat and humidity is tough. I talked to some people at the store just today who also ran that race and had similar experiences as you!! I too can relate as my “fast” attempt in San Antonio was quickly demolished by bad weather. My reaction is to take an entire year (or maybe more?!?) OFF!! However, I absolutely LOVED my experience in Twin Cities. You should think about that one.
    Let’s catch up soon….
    –jen

  3. d.a.r. says:

    I think you did fantastically, and it sounds like you know it, too. You gave what you had, and sometimes, that is all you can do. Good for you for giving yourself the chance!!

    And by the way, holy moly you look itty bitty in these pictures!

  4. John says:

    I think 4:01 is pretty good for that course. I came in at 3:47:22, we all coulda done better but it’s over now, whats next? Steamboat for us, 15k….C-U there. Lol.

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